In the vein of “Saving Ryan’s Privates.”

When I picked up untitledson from Montessori the other day, his teacher told me that he loved watching the movie “Snow White” during nap time when the other children sleep.

This is no surprise to me. He loves anything on TV. He’d watch a “Judge Judy” marathon if given the opportunity. But what I wouldn’t give to curl up on his little blue mesh cot and catch a few winks, and he’s just frittering it all away. Oh, the folly of youth.

He loves the “Hi Ho” song as sung by the seven dwarves. In particular, he enjoys the part when they hold the “ho,” as in “Hi HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” So I asked him, “Can you sing me the ‘Hi Ho’ song?” He did so, but in his version, the words are “My Hole.” Or more like “My HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLE!” So in context, it goes like this: “My hole. My hole. It’s off to work we go.”

I always knew those damn dwarves were up to no good. It just goes to prove my theory — never trust a man wearing a tunic (or one that lives in the woods with six other men, for that matter). I must remember not to laugh at untitledson. It’s not his fault. He springs from the loins of a man I caught singing along with Stevie Nicks using the words “Just like a one-winged dove.”

The devil wears Carters.

It’s not that often that I bring untitledson to my office. Lest I want him to shove whiteboard pens up his nose and paint his fingernails with White-Out, I am wise to keep him a few football fields away from this place. Why, I myself must play at least three games of Free Cell every afternoon to stave off the brain-numbing effects of my work environment. You can imagine the number it does on he who cannot tolerate a 30-second tv commerical thanks to the brain-altering device better known as TIVO.With no other alternative, I took him in to work yesterday. I had to run in for 30 minutes to answer some emails and gather my papers (so I could work from our hotel room while untitledson recovered from his quarterly case of pink eye). What’s that? Don’t you have remote email access like the rest of the world, untitled? Don’t you work for a company of 7,000 people? As a matter of fact, I do, and I do. But our security procedure is so goddamn rigid, I cannot log in. You have to enter two user names, two passwords, plus the Latin translation – unabridged – of “The Satanic Verses” for the mere privelege of kneeling at the feet of those in IT. But I do sleep well at night knowing that if some hacker tries to access my e-mails debating the proper usage of the em dash and en dash, he or she will be shut down. I must say, this whole security procedure is flattering. But let’s get real. No one wants to read my e-mail. Even I don’t want to read my e-mail.

So there we were, untitledson and myself, at my office. In my efforts to mitigate a Chernobyl meltdown, I gave him the pep talk, which amounted to “Be a good boy or Mommy will lose her job and be forced to sell handjobs on the corner, just to pay for your organic milk and the Kashi bars you love so dearly.” That kept him in line for about, oh, two minutes. Then the torrent began. “I want gum. I have to poop. Why is that person brown? What do these two wires do?” And on and on and on. Now the next part of this story is one big blur for me (post-traumatic stress response), but the ordeal ended with untitledson whipping his green Crocs over my cubicle wall and me slinging him over my shoulder as he pummelled me with his fists, pulled my hair and screamed, “You’re not the boss of me!” Out of the corner of my eye, I could see my co-workers looking on in horror. Tomorrow, they would tell me that they’d all been there, and that I handled the situation the only way I could. But when I wasn’t around, they’d clasp their rosaries and say their novenas, for on that fateful day, they had looked into the eyes of the beast.

Never before had I been so mad at untitledson. How could he humiliate me like that? But I guess that’s what kids are for — to break us down until this ruse we call control disinegrates and dissappears — not unlike those crusty raisins that untitledson is storing in the crevices of his booster seat.

Weenie roast.

We went to a friend’s house this past weekend for a grill-out. It was our first date, so to speak. In lieu of the Whitman’s Sampler, we brought $20 worth of kebabs, lips and assholes for the kids (hot dogs), cut fruit, pasta salad and my famous crack dessert bars. Boo-ya, instant BBQ.

Both untitledhusband and I know the wife quite well through work and whatnot. We hadn’t spent much time with her husband, though. When we arrived, he was cutting his grass with his new lawn mower. I didn’t think much of it, for I assumed he would put it away once we got out of the car. But oh contraire. He did not stop until one hour later, when he had finished his yard.

In all, we were at their home for, oh, four hours. Except for the short time we spent together eating at the dinner table, he was constantly doing something else – mowing the grass, playing with the kids outside, masturbating to the table saw spread in the Lowe’s circular. It was clear that he preferred tinkering around in his garage to spending time with us. In addition, their kids wanted nothing to do with untitledson. This did not bother him. He just took the opportunity to raid their toy room and fart on the heads of all their stuffed animals. I was tempted to have him poop in the pink Barbie Hummer, but even I see how that might be crossing a line (especially with how common DNA testing has become).

All in all, the whole situation was quite awkward. Here we’d come with armfuls of carefully prepared food (hey, it was prepared by someone, somewhere). It was clear we’d gone to lengths, if not the deli section, for this one. Then the husband has to go and make us feel like over-anxious virgins at our first prom. It was as if we weren’t worth the effort.

By all other accounts, this guy seemed quite nice. When he did stop his chores long enough to talk, he was very cordial and engaged. He just didn’t seem to understand that abandoning your guests so you can play kick ball with the neighborhood kids was rude. In my mind, I kept making excuses for him – anything to deny the possibility that he just had better things to do that visit with the likes of us. I thought to myself, “Maybe he has ADD. Or maybe he has been working on home projects for so long, he just doesn’t know when to stop.” But there really is no good excuse, now is there.

I’d like to think that we’re not boring people. So maybe we play Scrabble on our Tivo and watch “Big Brother” when everyone else is outside, creating “Eight is Enough” family pyramids, waving flags and playing bocci ball. Does this make us boring? I mean, christ. We are certainly more entertaining than a gaggle of six year-olds that eat their own boogers. I mean, if it’s gross stuff that you’re into, I can tell you for a fact that I myself have an obsession for zit-popping. untitledhusband gets a sick joy out of playing with his own toenail clippings. untitledson will fart on demand, followed by what could only be termed the funky fart dance and a loud vocal declaration of “excuse mah BUTT!” If this isn’t excitement, hand me my nitro pills.

Dancing queen.

untitledson’s daycare center recently began offering dance class. For an extra fee, your child can get two 45-minute dance lessons each week. When I first saw it advertised, I passed it up, since he already attends a weekly music class. Don’t want to overprogram the three year-old, only to have him use the karate moves he learned in kindergarten to strongarm the car keys away from me when he is 16, just so he can pick up his weed and his 34 year-old stripper girlfriend.

After the first class, his teachers informed me that he threw a hissy when he wasn’t able to attend dance class with the other children (OK, girls). To be precise, the note on his daily report said, “He REALLY wants to go to dance class.” I told his teachers to let him go to one class, so he could try it out. I figured he would either dig it, or he’d find it a bit offputting that he was the only one not wearing a pink tutu and toe shoes.

Now, I’ve always said my son can grow up to be whomever he wants. I won’t mold him or shape him — I will simply give him enough pizza, applesauce and organic skim milk so he turns out however he was meant to turn out. If I see him tucking his shirt into his underwear, chewing his toenail clippings or huffing his own farts, I might straighten him out there. But other than that, I want him to grow up to be himself.

So why all of a sudden is this crazy homophobic fear gripping me? The pea-sized primordial part of my brain keeps saying, “If you let him attend dance class, he’s gonna go GAAAAAY!” Yeah, I know. It’s ridiculous. You are either born gay or straight — you can’t gay anyone up, just like you can’t straighten anyone out. What’s more, gay is normal, just like brown eyes and curly hair are normal. If he grows up gay, well then by god, he is gay. If one day, he sits me down and says, “Mom, I’m gay,” I’d thank him for being honest about it, and I’d tell him that very few people in this world are courageous enough to be themselves. Dammit, I would LOVE MY BIG GAY SON! I would prepare him, tell him it’s not always going to be easy, given all the ignorant fools out there. But in my home, he’d never feel anything but love and acceptance.

All this being said, I’m still concerned about dance class. Don’t get me wrong — I am going to support and encourage his interest. I just felt the need to come clean and put my dirty rotten thoughts out there. I mean, no one ever talks about it, but don’t we all have thoughts like this sometime? Ever hit the automatic door locks when rolling through a po’ neighborhood? Or do you look into the fat chick’s grocery cart to see how many Ho-Ho’s she’s buying? We need to be honest with each other. Maybe by hanging our horrible thoughts out on a line like a pair of holey underwear — the kind with racing stripes — maybe then we can truly get past it.

Three. It’s a magic number.

People say that everyone has at least one story from their life that could be made into a movie. I’d like to tell you mine.

I’ve always had this theory that everyone has the same amount of pain to endure in their lifetime. For some, it drags on for 80 years. For others, they get it all out of the way in one moment. Me, I worked mine out in three months.

It all started off with my dad getting sick. After being woefully misdiagnosed by hack doctors who failed to give him the proper tests, he suffered unnecessary, irrepairable brain damage — the kind that keeps you in bed, wearing diapers, unable to eat. The saddest part was that every now and then, he’d have a day of clarity, where he realized he was in laying in his own shit. And to me, that was the hardest part.

I’ve told you what untitledmother is like. untitledfather — well, he was much like me, only a little kookier. No one should ever have to go out like he did. He was the kind of man that would snow blow his neighbor’s driveway just for the hell of it. He was a staunch Democrat in a town of Republicans. He’d volunteer at the caucus, but wouldn’t dream of putting a campaign sign in his yard, lest it start an argument with a friend. When I was in college, he took his last $500 (he was laid off at the time) and bought me a car, so I wouldn’t have to walk to work late at night. Every Christmas, he tried so hard to buy untitledmother a gift she’d like. One year it was new bathroom towels. The next year it was cheesey jewelry. He tried so hard, but she was never pleased.

During this time, untitledhusband and I were having some pretty serious issues. He had decided all of a sudden that he did not want to have kids. He had recently experienced a depression, and had begun taking Prozac. It worked well — almost too well. It put him in a state where he was so in love with life, that he thought he was 19 years old again, going out drinking with friends, not doing bills, etc. I didn’t know who he was anymore, and I didn’t quite know what to do with him.

It was about this time when untitledhusband broke the news to me — he didn’t want to have kids. Ever. This contradicted everything we had talked about for the past 10 years. I wanted a child with all my being. In fact, we had been trying to get pregnant for the past six months. Everything I knew was no longer so. We went through a period of separation, where we lived in the same house, yet miles apart from each other. He moved into the guest room, which ironically, ended up being untitledson’s nursery.

Somewhere in the middle of this, 9-11 hit. I remember IMing untitledhusband at work, scared shitless that the world was coming to end. I asked him if he was safe, if he planned on going home early. I suggested we fill our cars up with gas, and buy some bottled water. He asked why, and I said I didn’t know. It just sounded like something we should do. Child or no child, I could not imagine myself without him. We made a deal to try to work things out. And maybe, some day, we could continue the conversation about kids. Maybe.

So there we were, going through our shit, and then my dad died. During his last year, he could not eat, walk or even carry on a normal conversation, due to the brain damage. The last time I saw him alive, near the end, I sat with him in the hospital, and we watched the “Beverly Hillbillies” together. It had always been one of his favorite shows. There were moments, sitting next to him, where I forgot we were in a hospital room. He laughed at all the things he would normally laugh at. I was happy he was smiling, yet sad, because it meant he had some idea of his situation. He had always said, “If I’m ever in diapers, pull the plug.” Goddamn, I wish there would’ve been a plug to pull.

I got a phone call at work about one month later from untitledmother. She said dad had died. My first words were, “Are you sure?” I don’t know why I said that. He’d actually been gone for some time. Now, he could move on. That’s how I saw it. Writing his obituary, that was hard. As I typed the words, I felt like everything he had done in his life, every day of work, every hope, every sadness, was there in my fingertips, trying to tell the story of his life in a few lousy paragraphs. I’m sure I fell short, but I like to think he would’ve been quite pleased that I squeezed in a little something about his famous chili and the love he harbored for his beleagured Minnesota Vikings.

All this sorrow, yet the trifecta was not yet complete. One month after we buried my dad in the same suit he’d worn to my Catholic confirmation, high school graduation, and his mother’s funeral, I was laid off from my job. It was my dream job, no less. Marital problems, dead dad, and then unemployment. I’ve heard that these three things are the biggest stressers a person can endure, and I experienced all of them in the course of three months. I learned that my capacity for sorrow was like a drinking glass. After my dad’s death, it was plum full. When the layoff came about, I simply could not feel pain anymore. Thank god for small mercies, I guess.

It’s funny how life works, though. As quickly as things can go bad, they can go good again. A few months later, I was hired by the Evil Empire. I remember stumbling through those first few weeks, my life was such a mess. That’s the thing about working in corporate America — you can slide by at half-power and no one notices. I was there for three months when I found out I was pregnant with untitledson. By this time, untitledhusband had come out of his Prozac-enduced fog. No one was happier about the pregnancy than him. Well, maybe I was, but that kind of thing is hard to measure. Many times, he has said to me, “For the rest of your life, I will make this up to you.” And he has, people. He has. There are still moments when that time in my life will reach forward and clutch my heart. It reminds me that regardless of the fact that the button on my favorite khakis has popped, or that untitledson has pooped his new Buzz Lightyear underwear, today was a good day.